Lifestyle & Human Interest

Woman Goes Into Labor Early, Gives Birth on a Frontier Flight: 'This Cannot Be Happening Right Now'


Flying while pregnant is risky business at a certain point. For starters, air travel isn’t always comfortable, and in the later weeks of pregnancy, it can be downright dangerous.

One woman recently experienced a surprising change of plans when she went into labor early during a flight from Denver to Orlando with Frontier Airlines.

“I was feeling fine and everything, and so I had went to sleep, and I woke up, and my contractions was, yeah …” mom Shakeria Martin told “Today.”

“The first thought that ran through my mind was this cannot be happening right now. This cannot be. There’s no way I could just have this baby on this plane.”

But that was exactly what was happening. Martin was no stranger to unusual birth experiences, either: This was her fourth baby. Her third was delivered by a deputy on the side of the road when she was unable to make it to the hospital on time.

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While these incidents are rare, they’re not unheard of, and many times there ends up being a doctor or nurse on board who can help with delivery.

Not so on this day. Flight attendants couldn’t find any passengers to fit the bill, so they quickly became a stand-in medical team while pilot Chris Nye focused on making an emergency landing in Pensacola, Florida.

Flight attendant Diana Giraldo immediately felt for the young mother, drawing on her experience to comfort her.

“I’m an older sister,” Giraldo said. “So, to me, it’s like … I saw this young woman. She was frightened. She was uncomfortable. There was no space inside of me for any doubt. I just had to make sure that I, that I was there for her.”

Martin was ushered into the bathroom, and flight attendants scrambled to bring items they thought would be useful, and the baby was born mid-air.

“‘Exemplary’ and ‘calm’ were the words Captain Chris Nye used for Flight Attendant Diana Giraldo’s heroic task of delivering a baby recently mid-flight,” Frontier Airlines shared on Facebook.

“The baby couldn’t wait, so the early and unexpected labor took place on a flight from Denver International Airport to Orlando International Airport (MCO). Diana helped the mother to the back lavatory and assisted the mother in giving birth.”

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The captain had nothing but praise for Giraldo.

“Diana again went above and beyond after the completion of the flight to coordinate our return to Orlando. The whole crew really did a great job,” he said.

“I transferred controls and flying duties to my First Officer as I coordinated the diversion. Dispatch did a great job as well by suggesting Pensacola Airport and getting a gate and paramedics ready for us. This was a job well done, and I was happy to see everyone working together to successfully deliver a newborn on an aircraft!”

Despite the unusual entrance into the world, the baby appears to be doing well, and Martin chose a very fitting middle name: Sky.

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AF Branco is an editorial cartoonist.